By Ashley Iveson
Last Updated: 03/07/14 7:16pm
Ashley Iveson says Mukhmal can clinch Listed honours at Sandown on Friday - he has a tip in every race.
Mukhmal failed to run up to expectations when well fancied at Royal Ascot last month but can reward those who keep the faith by clinching Listed honours in Sandown's Dragon Stakes.
Mark Johnston's juvenile created a big impression when making a winning debut at Musselburgh in mid-April and looked every inch a Pattern-race performer when overcoming a wide draw to make it two from two in Chester's Lily Agnes Stakes.
The Middleham maestro has been a potent force at the Royal meeting down the years and it was easy to see why he nominated Norfolk Stakes contender Mukhmal as one of the major hopes for this season's raiding party, but he came up short at the summer showpiece meeting.
However, it is not difficult to put forward a viable excuse.
Like most Johnston horses Mukhmal was allowed to stride on by Paul Hanagan, but it was soon evident he was a little too keen to get on with his job.
He was a sitting duck from halfway and was inevitably picked up by those ridden with more restraint, eventually passing the post well held in sixth.
There is little doubt he is much better than he showed in Berkshire and if Hanagan can harness that raw speed for a little longer this time around, he should take plenty of pegging back.
The other main event on an excellent warm-up card for Saturday's Coral-Eclipse can go to Godolphin's Tha'ir.
Saeed bin Suroor's colt mixed it with the likes of Toronado and Olympic Glory as a juvenile and although he failed to make the grade in Group company as a three-year-old, he developed into a smart handicapper with a summer victory at Newmarket supplemented by some fine efforts in defeat.
He has not been seen since winning readily on the Tapeta at Meydan at the end of February, but if he is fit enough to do himself justice, he is well capable of making his mark in the Ambant Gala Stakes, with the excellent Andrea Atzeni booked for the ride.
Nathr is a fascinating contender at Doncaster, returning from over a year on the sidelines for the Ricky Bond Worldpay Maiden Stakes.
Charlie Hills' inmate was placed twice early on in his two-year-old year, finishing not too far behind Green Door at Newmarket and Bunker at Haydock, two horses who subsequently went on to victories at Stakes level.
Nathr has presumably had his problems, having been off the track since last May, but if he can replicate that juvenile form on his belated return, he sets a standard that will be tough to match in an ordinary heat like this.
The Roger Varian-trained Three Cliffs can earn a deserved visit to the winner's enclosure in the Wigley Group Handicap at Warwick.
The three-year-old may have failed to get his head in front in five starts to date, but he has not yet finished out of the first four and the furthest he has been beaten is a little over three lengths.
He filled the runner-up spot on his turf debut at Brighton at the end of May and will perhaps be seen in an even better light if this bigger field go a stronger gallop.
Ripon runner-up Grand Beauty is a good bet to go one better in the EBF Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire Pudding Novice Stakes at Beverley's evening fixture, while the Betfred Says Farewell To William Simukulwa Handicap at Haydock looks a good opportunity for Solidarity to get back on the winning trail.
BELLEWSTOWN: 5.20 Bad News Bear, 5.50 Maal, 6.20 Footprint, 6.50 Byron Beauty, 7.20 Lindenhurst, 7.50 Xsquared, 8.20 Indian Icon, 8.50 Mydor.
BEVERLEY: 6.30 Dialogue, 7.00 Grand Beauty, 7.30 Loud, 8.00 Kalahari Kingdom, 8.30 Silver Tigress, 9.00 Lees Anthem.
DONCASTER: 2.20 Nathr, 2.50 Classic Colori, 3.25 Flawless Pink, 4.00 Ansaab, 4.35 Reesha, 5.05 Gambol, 5.35 Random Success.
HAYDOCK: 6.45 First In Command, 7.15 Tarando, 7.45 Solidarity, 8.15 Here Now, 8.45 Esteban, 9.15 Arizona John.
SANDOWN: 2.00 Tagula Night, 2.30 MUKHMAL (NAP), 3.00 Tom Hark, 3.35 Tha'ir, 4.10 Air Pilot, 4.45 Economy.
WARWICK: 2.10 Mary McPhee, 2.40 The Dapper Tapper, 3.10 See The Storm, 3.45 Three Cliffs, 4.20 Don Sigfredo, 4.55 Eleusis, 5.25 Orient Class.
WEXFORD: 5.40 Bell Walks Day, 6.10 Meldrum Lad, 6.40 Cloudy Morning, 7.10 Andreas Pride, 7.40 Klepht, 8.10 Corr Point, 8.40 Tirauli.
DOUBLE: Mukhmal and Grand Beauty.